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Archive for the Category "Crosswords"

Rebelled Mar 13

I’ve recently finished reading Pretty Girl in Crimson Rose (8) by Sandy Balfour. It’s a mix of autobiography, travelogue and crossword guide, and I highly recommend it. It’s a life-affirming story of the author’s global travels and in particular his quest to find a national identity after leaving South Africa.

If you’re interested in crosswords (and in particular the Guardian crossword), it also provides a simple introduction to the subject, covering both Balfour’s belief in the stories contained in crossword puzzles and the basics of solving them. It also lifts the veil on some of the setters with the enigmatic names.

A new word Feb 11

A work colleague gave me a printout of today’s Edinburgh Evening News crossword. Having failed to make much progress when I tried the same paper’s puzzle for the first time ealier in the week, I set to work on the cryptic clues (it’s a double crossword – two puzzles, one quick and one cryptic, with different answers for each but on the same grid).

I was very chuffed as I completed it in one sitting, and I only had to check one word in a dictionary: sisal.

So I’m a Philistine Feb 09

One of yesterday’s Guardian crossword clues had me stumped (well, most of them did, but there is a point this…). The clue was, roughly, “Fifth-rate celebrities around (for instance) John Donne (7).” I resorted eventually to Googling “John Donne” since I had no idea who he was. The first result revealed him to be a poet. Another result contained one of his works which, given the title of this blog, I really should have known:

No man is an island, entire of itself
every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main
if a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were,
as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were
any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind
and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls
it tolls for thee.

Thanks to this info about him, I did manage to work out the answer. “Fifth-rate celebrities” is “E-list” and “for instance” is “e.g.” which together give John Donne himself: elegist.

More on crosswords and the Guardian Nov 17

Further to my previous post, one of last week’s Corrections & Clarifications columns in The Guardian had to clarify, following some concern from readers, that the duplication of clues was, indeed, intentional. The readers in question must be kicking themselves.

I did complete today’s crossword by Quantum, although I resorted to an online dictionary for help. This taught me that an acer is a type of tree and a racer is a type of snake. Favourite clue was “The fault’s in the office, not the Church (8,5)” while the most elegant was “Mixed, as in molecules (13).”

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the paper Alexis Petridis’r review of the new Band Aid single includes a biting summing up of Dido: her “vocal style … recalls a woman distractedly singing to herself as she tries to remember where she parked her car.”

Oh, and Jonathan Calder highlights why Polly Toynbee’s nanny state is undesirable.